Thursday, August 30, 2012

Thursday thoughts

Lisi wasn't impressed that we had to stop in front of our house as we started our walk to take pictures of the two hot air balloons coming our way.  They came in closer and lower and I was waving like a crazed woman at the guys in the baskets.  If I was standing in line at the store next to them, I hardly think I'd be waving like that.  You do that.  For hot air balloons and for people on trains.  I'm not sure why.

Speaking of stores and check-out lines.  What are the odds that I'm in the local Walmart and end up in the very same line as a middle-aged man with a balding head and just slightly too long of hair down the sides?  What are the odds that this very man is wearing the very same gray shirt and buying exactly the same thing two months later?  I remember because it was 10-32oz bottles of G2 and four boxes of Pop Tarts.  Seriously.  I told son #1 he was most likely single.  My suspicions were confirmed as we saw him get into a very expensive two door car and zoom off.  Not that we're stalkers or anything.

Speaking of sons.  Or maybe husbands.  But I try not to tell the Chairman what to do because he's busy and simply helps without me saying anything.  I digress again.  I notice that if you tell a daughter three things in a row that are jobs for her, she immediately puts it in her memory, complains a little bit, then goes and does the tasks at hand.  If you tell a son to do two things, he goes off immediately and does the first one you mention and feels the work is complete because adding the second task to the 'list' doesn't register.  Parenting is a fascinating thing.

We had our school open house.  The one you know where you take in 77 pounds of supplies/child and stuff them into narrow lockers.  Meet the teachers and eat ice cream.  Daughter #3 was so incredibly happy.  The class list looked great.  The room was the same one as last year (she passed, I promise).  And!  Her locker was the one right next to the classroom door!  She was beaming with delight until her older brother said, 'you know they pick out the troublemakers and put their lockers by the door so they can't mess around'.  Siblings are really good at taking wind out of sails.

Mr. Tomcat in Training has taken a liking to getting his water from this:

He was just getting down by the time I reached for my phone.

He thinks he's bigger than he is.  The other night I went on a meandering walk with one of the MYP.  Tomcat in Training followed.  These neighbors have a bull mastiff.  If you think it sounds big, you are right.  In fact, here's a picture of one.  And no, that isn't my neighbor.  

Simba thought he could take on that dog.  Seven pounds of mean cat against 140 pounds of a confused dog was a sight to see.  

Saw this yesterday and smiled...

Monday, August 27, 2012

Monday Musings

Just don't have lots to offer.  Most bloggers simply don't post if they don't have much.  Me?  I'm too dumb reliable to not muse on Monday.  Hopefully, I don't wast too much of your time.  

Here's a couple pictures after my walk last night.  Mr.  Tomcat in Training is enlarging his world and now wants to leave our 2 acres and explore further into life.  He keeps returning without being left under the tire tread of some passing car, so... so far, so good.
 Lisi.  Poor, sweet, sweet Lisi.  She still is overcome with terrible bouts of jealousy.  Over the kitty.  Over the MYP.  Over my being busy keeping the Chairman's chalet running smoothly - or so I hope.  A little extra time always seals the deal of love for her.
 Preps.  Probably 98.9% of you know what preps are.  It is where you put on your somewhat icky clothes, get in a car and go do fun and not-so-fun jobs with a lot of people you love.  Your MYP eagerly want to do tasks that you could hardly make them do with threats of their very lives if they were at home.  You get dirty.  You visit along.  You leave feeling incredibly happy, exhausted, and satisfied.
 We are blessed to have a family that has their origins way, way over there.  They recently returned from a trip and brought back some lovely things.  One of them was a dress for this daughter.  Pretty!  I'd show you my new top, but I'm humble like that.
 Sunday afternoon in the screen porch....  an ordinary moment.  I like how daughter #2 dressed down to a free blood donor shirt from 3 years ago.  I promise.  She didn't wear it in the morning.
And finally, this made me smile.  Even though Lisi is never on a leash because she likes it at home too much.  
See?  I told you I had nothing to muse.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Ruts and routine

I refuse to post this as "Thursdays Thoughts" even though that's what they are.   I've decided to get out of my rut of life.  It makes life tedious for me and for everyone else.  I think I'll try the 'new me' for the next six minutes and then I'll go back to the safe and sound.  Cause that's how I roll.

How often do you rearrange furniture in your house?  Try it.  Even if it is something small.  You clean places that normally don't get cleaned.  And if you have MYP, it adds an element of excitement for sure.  Just don't wander through in the dark and crack your shin real hard...

I've gotten quite adept at the allen wrench.  Or is it Alan wrench?  tee-hee.  You see one of the MYP here likes to switch from twin beds to bunk beds quite often.  Well up they went again!  And she taught our highly intelligent Tomcat in Training to climb the ladder up and down.

Took Tomcat in Training to the vet yesterday.  She was mildly bothered by the fact when I informed her that he is an indoor/outdoor cat.  More and more outdoor as he grows up.  She gave me a lecture on all the terribly dangerous things that can happen.  Then I mentioned that he's already caught and killed two mice.  Her mildly bothered look went to nauseous.  Really?  That's what cats do!

Three very large bags are on their way to Goodwill again.  I made the mistake of asking some of the MYP's opinions on my 8-12 year old shoes on the rack.  Yes.  Most of them lost place here in our home.

Did you know about Little Miss Muffett who was eating her curds and whey?  I recently read that curds make cottage cheese (no brainer) and whey is what makes ricotta.  Don't ever think that you read this blog for entertainment purposes.  It's bursting with vital knowledge.  Or not.

There was a blog hit this morning because someone was looking for "happy birthday quotes for my big sister".  Sweet.  I hope they found them.  They live in Willemstad, Curacao.  Go do an image search of that city.  Beautiful!  I hope they think about inviting us to visit!

We have a very large circle of friends/family.  And we keep hearing of this one and that one facing another cancer diagnosis of some weird sort.  I am so sorry for so many facing such a terrible journey.  I wish 'they' knew what causes cancer.  I wish 'they' could cure cancer.  But for now, all we can do is remember them in different ways.  And certainly don't cease to be thankful for our own health as it is today.

Well time to get someone motivated for piano lessons!  And back to the rut I go...

Monday, August 20, 2012

Monday Musings

I'm cheating.  I'm honest and felt you were entitled to know this bit of privy info.  You see I discovered a 'notes' app on my phone.  Little observations or thoughts that pop into my head are actually jotted down.  That way my middle-aged brain isn't so taxed to bring you some Musings on a Monday.  Course I'm not altogether sure it is blog-worthy.  Will see where this goes.

Does this post look different?  Get up to the screen and squint your eyes real tight?  Now can you see it?  I knew you could!  This is a new computer!  Actually just the CPU.  I needed to return one we got at a major warehouse store (no Apple here folks) because of a loose screw!  Really!  I actually went to the counter with the CPU in a box and said, "I have a screw loose".  You should have seen the lady!  tee-hee.  Well I returned it and went to look at the other choices.  And walked out with the exact same CPU for... drum roll... $100 less!  Yep!  Discount this week.  Whoot!

Was at the mall this week and daughter #1 wanted Chinese for lunch (go figure).  Anyway, I realize that at the Chinese restaurants in food courts they have Chinese people working.  But at the Italian ones, there is a mish-mash of anything.  Seems it would be more authentic if you'd have Savatore, Tony, and Gina waiting on you.

Do you cook your bacon in the oven?  You don't?  Seriously!  Line a big pan (with short sides) with crinkled foil.  Lay down a good week's worth of bacon (BLT season you know).  Bake at 425 for 20 or so minutes.    Your welcome.  You will never fry it in a pan again.  Trust me.

I learned my lesson about 9 years ago and it still haunts me.  I drove away from a gas pump with the nozzle still attached to my car.  There was a terrible thud and then in my rear-view mirror I saw it swinging precariously.  There was no damage to the van or the hose for that matter.  It took me approximately 7 years to gather courage to tell the Chairman.  To this day, each and every time I get gas, I check at least thrice before I pull away from the pump.

"Trees are the answer".  That's what the bumper sticker said that I saw this week.  However, I'm not sure what the question was.

The girls have been doing a lot of flips lately.  I'm hoping their heads stay on their necks.

This was my shopping buddy eating her Chinese lunch.  I don't need a fortune cookie to tell me we are fortunate for her...

See the tree?  Can you picture how big it is?  Can you see daughter #2 holding an adventurous kitty?

Now picture our 4-month Tom cat in training at the very top dangling dangerously.  I did what any sensible cat-owner would do.  I texted where he came from and said, 'what do we do?'.  The advice was, 'don't call the fire department'.  He did make it down safely with some good howling.  And went on to catch his first mouse.  Such is the life of a baby tom cat.

It is fun to feed the hungry MYP.  Today I was lacking inspiration.  I dug my head deep into the fridge and found lots of things that could be thrown together for lunch.  Leftover taco/black beans for tacos.  Two pieces of tilapia with green beans.  I made a spinach/fruit salad.  Son #1 said at the table, 'if I was going to close my eyes and wish for a perfect meal, this would be it'.  That inspired me to tackle another week of feeding the Chairman's family.  

Now I need to be honest again.  I wrote this all on Sunday night (gasp!).  It was quiet and inspiration struck.  And there's this tricky option called 'schedule your post'...  Mused out.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Thinking Thursday thoughts

Yes, it is soon going to be that time again here in Dairyland.  Actually, we have just shy of three weeks left of summer.  I don't think I'll do cartwheels.  I might actually savor my cup of coffee longer.  But I can't say I'm the kind that want my kids to leave all day.

I do notice near the end of the school year, I talk to other moms out there and they say it'll be so good to not have such a structure in their days.  They look forward to summer.  Then the very same mothers say in August, "it sure will be nice to get back to school and to structure again."  Huh?

Do you ever feel your heartbeat rising and excitement build when you see someone on the road you know?  I do.  We have the privilege of living about a mile and a half from two different families that are dear to us.  We see them often.  But when you see them on the road it is a thrill.  Don't ask me why.

When my slightly older sister was 6 days away from delivering her first baby girl (who I might add turned out to be a super-special lady), she dropped a peach pie on the oven door and it slid down the front and it was one. big. mess.  Not to mention all the work involved and the fact that there would be no peach pie for dinner.  I digress.  I did that with a frozen cheese pizza.  Now every time I start the oven, it smells like a pizza parlor on fire.

Blueberries and peaches.  Peaches and blueberries.  Yum.  I'm glad they are in season at the same time.  They go together like salt and pepper, bacon and eggs, night and day, the Chairman and the Chef....

In just awhile, we will head to our own 'conbenchion'.  I have almost bragged about the fact I love my bathroom cleaning job.  I've even had some posts about it years ago.  But I think my co-workers are telling me something.  Both are going to different places this year!  Psst.  I think it is just because they are burned out on bathrooms.  So if you know someone that is just wishing they could plunge toilets and clean showers with very long hair draped around the walls, just let me know!  I'm sure I'll have so many volunteers I'll have to turn people away.

It's raining, it's pouring, a few MYP's are still snoring.  Time to start my piano playing to rouse some heads.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Monday Musings

One child is away at band camp already learning how to beat her drum.  I wonder if there will be millions of fingers, millions of thumbs, millions of monkeys drumming on drums.  Dum-ditty-dum-ditty-dum-dum-dum.  If you are a parent, you should know what I'm talking about.

The other two MYP are catching up from a sleep debt over the weekend.  And what a weekend it was!  If you have ever been to 'conbenchion', you know.  Except the benches were actually chairs.  I would like to put into words what it meant to be there, but that's impossible.  So my musing will be more about surface-y things.

Like.  The bed my slightly older sister saved for us in the bunks was smack-dab in the middle of teenage-ville.  The closest in age to me was about 20.  The other 50 girls there were between 12-19.  And noisy it was!  But you know?  I couldn't complain or be this mean old mom 'shushing' the young ladies.  Why?  Because if my memory serves me right, I was one of the noisier ones in my day.  So I was served my just dessert.  Another reason I didn't complain?  Earplugs.  They are a girl's mom's best friend.  

I slept by a sweet young thing with a ready smile.  As we were settling in, she said to me, 'I hope you don't mind that I snore'.  Well judging by her looks, it didn't look like a big deal.  I almost said, "oh don't you worry your pretty little head.  I sleep with the Chairman".  But then that might not sound right since she doesn't know the Chairman also happens to be my husband.  Well I was not right to judge by looks.  Because about midnight, freight train number nine started heading down the Chicago line.  Oh me oh my!  My precious earplugs couldn't even handle that task.  Good luck future husband of sweet young thing with a ready smile.

Girls primp.  A very, very long time.  Those with curly hair use hair straighteners.  Girls with straight hair use curling irons.  The hair is always nicer on the other side of the comb.

One brave soul wore her Aaron Rogers #12 jersey to sleep in down in Bear country.  I thought she was just trying to test out charity or something.  tee hee.

As I was walking out towards the vehicle with all of my gear on both shoulders and one elbow, I stopped and spoke with an elderly man.  I wanted to share that I missed his disabled son that had a merry heart and loving countenance that passed away a few years ago.  I wanted to tell him a few memories I had of him because when you lose someone, it is just a balm to hear about them again from someone else.  Well, the elderly father started to tell me about the last morning he was alive.  Tears poured down his cheeks and mine.  All the while I was holding approximately about 46 pounds of gear on both shoulders and one elbow. But it was worth it.  Every moment.

Mr.  Tom Cat in Training and Lisi were deliriously happy for our return.  That's a fun aspect of pets.  You are their sun, moon, and stars.  Does a lot for self-confidence.

Facebook is kind of interesting.  Someone "liked" a picture I posted last April.  And since some see it on their feeder, all of the sudden it is "liked" by lots four months after the fact.  Speaking of Facebook, I will snag a picture of all these pretty things that were getting ready in the morning next to me.  Well, the some of them anyway...

Mused out.  Time to move instead of muse.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Thoughts on a Thursday

There's a lot of that going on around here.  In fact, Mr. Tom Cat in Training thinks he's going to win.  Each and every time.  Until Lisi puts her paw on his back and lets him know who really is in charge.  Cats don't need any lessons in self-confidence, that's for sure.

I'm wishing I were somewhere else this morning.  That doesn't happen very often because quite honestly, I love my place here in every sense of the word.  However, tomorrow I get to go where I want to be today!  So isn't that enough to make my heart merry?  Sure thing!

We were very fortunate to be able to welcome four college-boys here for 24 hours from California.  Each of them were completely unique in their own way.  The funny one.  The thoughtful one.  The sleepy-eyed cute one, and the one I'm related to.  If anyone ever tells you that young people aren't very nice, don't believe them.  Because we had some nice ones here.  If I hadn't known who slept where, I would have guessed just by looking how their sleeping arrangements were when they left.  One had everything hyper-tidy laying in perfect rows.  One made a half-hearted attempt to make it look presentable.  One jumped out of bed and there it lay!  People are so unique.  That's what makes life so interesting!

The paper said today that this was the hottest summer in the US since the dust bowl of 1936.  Well I could have told you that.  Except that I wasn't here in 1936 even though my kids sometimes wonder.  One of them asked me the other day, 'in the old, old days when you were a kid...'.  I'm not sure why two "olds" were necessary.

There's a five-part article in the paper that is quite interesting about surrogacy and one couple's struggle to have a family.  They went through a multitude of hoops to have a family that included a surrogate.  I find it interesting.  But as an adoptive mother reading it all, it makes me a bit sad that adoption isn't considered more.  I wish they knew that is no difference.  Genetics and similar looks are nice.  But certainly not necessary.  Love is.  Bonding is.  Discipline is.  Structure is.  Family tradition.  That's necessary...  and what truly makes a family.

Better get off my soapbox and into the soap suds.  Have a great rest of the week!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Happy 50th mostly nice older brother

Yes, he's 50.  And don't forget that he's older than me.  I'm not near close to 50.  

I was trying to think about my first memory of my brother.  But there isn't one.  Because he has always been there.  Always.  

My first memories together are playing and fighting as kids do.  He has always been older, wiser, and someone I could rely on.  

We played hours of 'pig' and 'horse' together.  We'd sit side by side in an old junker Ford Mustang and dream of the places we'd go even though it didn't move an inch.  

We took off on road trips to far away places when we were barely old enough to drive (what were our parents thinking?).  

He had a strong work ethic which motivated me to get my first job as well.

And then he went off to college.  I followed three years later to the very same university.  Mostly because it felt safe that my older brother was there.  And because I could get free rides back home!

He made fun of my choice of major.  He was an accounting major.  He would tell me I was two levels below because flunkie accountants become finance majors.  Flunkie finance majors go into business administration. So that's where I stood.  

I also made fun of him.  Told him he would be an ugly bachelor all his life because he was too shy to get a girlfriend.  He would live alone and drive a weird car and have a weird haircut and no one would ever be interested in him.  

The day he got married was a very sad day for me.  We had always been very close.  I was always there sharing life with him.  And then he chose his wife.  And I knew she'd always come first over me as she rightfully should.  Then I realized I gained a whole wonderful thing.  A new sister that I treasure.  And my relationship with my brother even deepened with her there.  They had three sons.  The days they were born were utter joy to me.  My brother - a father.  And a super one in every sense.

My brother is one that just 'gets me'.  Somehow even though 2,038 miles separate us these days, it is like there is no distance.  We think alike.  Laugh at the same things.  Worry the same.  And share a love for something more than this life.

Today at family gatherings, we revert to a comfortable place.  I chatter along without thought.  He quietly makes snide comments.  The room roars with laughter.  I'm hurt and happy all at the same time.  Why?  Because he's my brother and it is his way to show he cares.  

So... here's a few pictures I dug out from a dark and scary place in our basement.  

my graduation a couple years ago
Kool kat city mowing the dusty prairie grass
Evidence:  he claims he hates cats

Still loves to jerk my chain when he can...

Happy birthday Keith!  Here's to 50 more!

Lost....and found!

This picture was texted to me late last night.  I almost cried.  
This is big M.  He was taken from his beloved home for 10 days and 'his people' went to find him and bring him home.  The tail tale is a very long and confusing one.  In a nutshell:

Dog goes missing.  Search goes on for days.  Thoughts of nabbing or death are heavy in the air.  Hope seems lost though information is out there about him missing.

Then a call.  He is discovered two states away.  Someone brought him to the vet without his id tag, but his rabies one still there.  They trace his owners down.  Contact is made with the one holding him.  An agreement to meet is set up.

Shortly before the arranged time, a call is given.  The dog 'ran away in a storm'.  Panic sets in.  Distrust of the party holding the dog.  Authorities are called as well as local shelters where the dog is nearby.

Police move in to the house where big M is supposedly located.  Police inform M's people that there indeed is a big golden inside and he responds to his name.

Here is where I don't know what happened in detail yet.  Either the police informed the household that they were on to them, or a call was made.  Nonetheless, another arrangement was made to meet and transfer dog deep in the night in the big city.

She comes with the pooch.  Doesn't answer all the questions.  In fact, doesn't even get out of the car.  But!  But!  There he is!  Big M!  Overjoyed to see his people after ten days.  Leaps into his own car and heads back for home where he belongs.

Anyway, it is a story that will be very interesting to hear in detail.  Between you and me, I always had a soft spot for him since he was a 'relative' and a golden retriever.  But he always has seemed big and slightly under groomed because he's a farm dog.  Then he went missing and my heart ached for him and for his people.  And now, I can't wait for the next chance to give him a big hug and tell him how glad we are that he survived a kidnapping and is home safely again!  If big M was a blog writer, Lisi wouldn't hold a candle to him!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Monday Musings

I'm not inspired.  Not one iota.  So this will be short and probably not very sweet.

I must say I'm enjoying the deafening silence that summer school has brought to my mornings.  Unfortunately, I squander the time away and realize that I must pick up the kids in a half-hour and have little to show for my morning.  Don't tell them I let you know.  But I heard from 2/3 of the MYP that they actually like summer school!  Imagine!

We are router-less.  Our router just plain died an unglamorous death the other night.  I think I might go find a replacement with the Chairman's blessing today.  But there is something nice about having only one computer working in the house.  Life seems less complicated somehow.

Remember the missing dog-friend of Lisi's?  The story hasn't ended.  All we know so far based on a phone call is that somehow he ended up two states away and there was supposed to be a meeting to get him back that was suddenly cancelled.  It leaves a very icky feeling in the stomach because now we know he probably is alive and not with the ones he loves.  I hope there is another chapter and that it has a happier ending.

Someone searched out the 'duties of the Chairman' from the United Kingdom a couple days ago.  However, I don't think they found out what this Chairman does because this is more about what the Chairman's wife muses.  Maybe they went back to their 'telly' and watched more of the olympics.

Mused out...

Friday, August 3, 2012

Post #835

Just noticed that this will be #835.  Who knew that I'd have this much to say over the years?

I've had a terrific cold this week.  Yes, in the summer.  Go figure.  I won't point fingers, but some friends of mine had a cold when we were camping last week.  But since I'm so kind and thoughtful, I won't mention who they are...  I'm either blowing my nose, wishing I was blowing my nose, sleeping, or wishing I could sleep.  I think I'm turning a corner on the tissue today.

Son #1 saw a wonderful allergist this week.  This doctor is as concerned about the wheezing, breathing, sneezing, stuffy-head symptoms as we are.  He spent 45 minutes in the room with us asking and explaining.  He gave us nearly $400 in samples.  I'm thankful for 2nd opinions.

Daughter #2 made bread yesterday under my watchful eye.  I must say she did as good as I could do.  And she didn't forget salt (like I did last time).  She wasn't feeling very trustworthy of my culinary ability after the last snafu and said, 'I'll just make it myself so it turns out good'.  Self-confidence is a good thing.

Cooking in the summer is a delight.  Fresh corn, beans, cukes, grilling.  Mmmm.  I found Pioneer Woman's cookbook at the library yesterday.  I've enjoyed her snappy way of writing again.  I'd love the book, but cookbooks sit on shelves at my house and I 'Google' recipes constantly.

Speaking of 'Googling'.  I was going to look up "when should I neuter our kitten".  But after I typed in just "when should I"... the top choice was ..."get married".  Seriously?  Someone actually Googles that question? No wonder divorce rates are 50%!

Someone reads this blog from Kenai, Alaska.  I don't know who you are, but I looked up your fine city and immediately could tell I would like to come visit you.  Someday.  Especially if I was invited.

Well stand by.  My head is completely empty except for the nagging congestion left over from my virus.  Next week we'll start with post #836.  But who's counting?